Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our beloved Lula, 2004-2012

the last picture we have with Lula in it

Our kitty Lula died this morning at home in her kitty bed. Her symptoms pointed to some kind of intestinal cancer, but we will never know for sure. She was eight years old, and we will miss her so much. Lula was the first kitty I ever had. She showed up in the backyard of the little red house where Ken lived when we met, and then where we both lived when we were newlyweds. She was sick and hungry and teeny tiny when we met her. It was April, and the vet suggested she might have been a dumped dorm kitty, which I was surprised to learn even was a category.

Once she recovered from her foray in the wild, she became a wonderful house kitty. Playful, clean, sweet, and beautiful. She really was a beautiful cat with lovely striped markings on her face.

She wasn't a lap cat, per se. She was very selective, and always loved Ken the best. If I had a scanner and time, I'd post one of the many photos I have of Lula curled up in the crook of his arm while they both slept. So sweet. And today poor Ken was out digging a grave for her. We selected a nice spot under our bedroom widow in the shady hosta garden and I will always think of her when I look at the mammoth hosta that, by summer, will be covering her little grave.

Lula changed me as a person. I remember telling my long-time best friend that we found a kitty and were adopting her. Her reaction was "And do you actually touch her?" I wasn't always much of an animal person. But something about Lula really changed all of that. My relationship with her certainly changed after the arrival of our first child, but again, I can't pretend to know how she felt about it. I remember worrying and worrying about her whenever we would leave. But lately, it was just nice to see her come out after the kids went to bed and snuggle with us on the couch. Ken said that it's too bad she didn't get to see us on the other side of all this toddler and baby craziness. I agree. We really will miss her so much.

Rest in peace, sweet kitty. You were well loved in your lifetime, and we are so glad you found us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a special day

today i am
a little laughy
and smiley
and tickley
and brotherly
....and six months old!

special places

a lovely walled-in park, the size of a city block. paved paths, huge trees, a few formal-ish gardens, and a conservatory. perfect for that kinda-nature-y day.

our artist

We have discovered that our little boy loves painting. It helps to have really washable watercolors and heavy watercolor paper.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

goals for this coming season

I'm not into New Year's resolutions, but I would like to write down a few of my hopes as I look toward our growing season here in New England. My thoughts:

1) I'd like to have an epic strawberry-jam making session, such as I remember from the summers of my childhood. The CSA my sister belongs to has strawberries that I feel are pretty safe for the eating. I'd like to buy a bunch when we are up there and (are you reading this, Mom?) make jam with my Mom in NY. Seems better to pair up with someone who has done it before.

2) I really want to stock up on local blueberries while they are in season. I think we'll pay a visit to Windsong Farm, which has been recommended highly by some of my friends b/c of their safe growing practices. The trouble is that when blueberries are in season we eat them so fast that we've never been able to save any. (Oh, and we hope to harvest some from the 2 bushes we planted in our yard last year.)

3) We have plans to expand our backyard garden. I'm thinking we should add string beans, kale, peppers, squash, herbs, cabbage, . . . and more on that soon.

4) More applesauce! We have been enjoying our treats from the freezer. We bought a large bag of seconds from High Hill Orchard and it made delicious sauce. We could easily have eaten many times the amount we made...

5) I'd like to put a white hydrangea in front of the house, where we lost a small piney shrub.

6) We will need to come up with a good way to control weeds. Suggestions?

7) Since we are in suburbia, we need to figure out how to keep our front lawn somewhat un-dead over the summer. gag me.

8) We hope to be able to use some of our own compost for our gardens this year, but I also hope to find a good place to purchase some in bulk.

And what about you? Do you have any growing-season goals?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Wow. It really is tempting to violate one of my aforementioned CSA rules and sign up for this one. My, it's tempting. I did get a few chances to talk with this farmer, and he seems wonderful. Furthermore, we bought our tomato plants from him last year and they turned out to be just terrific. I've always enjoyed the veggies they have at the markets. Unfortunately--and this really is a bummer--the farm is 30 minutes from our place. However, unlike last year's CSA farm, this would be a commute on smallish roads, not a busy highway.

Thinking... thinking...

Still, maybe the best route is putting a lot of time into growing our own food. We don't have a lot of land, but we could probably grow enough to supplement our trips to the farmers markets this summer.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I don't think we'll join a CSA this year. In my previous post I talked about getting to know growers before joining their CSA, and I am going to take my advice. The only grower we're really considering now is at Bodichitta Farms, and the CSA pick up is at one of the New Haven Farmer's Markets (I think). But, I still don't know much about her or her farm, though we did buy a lot of maple syrup and mushrooms from her last year. And they were yummy! She seems really down to earth and invested in sustainable farming, so this is still a possibility. I'm waiting to hear more details, particularly about pick-up location and days so that we can decide if it will work for us.

Here's the good news-- when we moved here last year I thought that it was a dire situation with finding good local foods. Turns out that it's a little better than that, thank goodness. True, the farmer's market that is within walking distance of us is a huge letdown, but there are several in New Haven that have a number of good options. At these markets we've been glad to find some old favorites like Four Mile River Farm and Beltane Farms, but also discovered Starlight Gardens in Durham, Northfordy Farm in Northford, Riverbank Farm from Roxbury, Bodichitta Farm from Prospect, and a handful of other growers who are always at the market with great food. The trouble is that these markets are busy. Really, really busy! Not only is the market so busy that it's hard to talk to any of the grower for very long, but the location is such that you don't want to turn your back on your kid for very long either. Busy roads, unpleasant dogs, etc. So that's a disadvantage of these markets that I'm getting used to. For those of you who know me, I really do like to hang around and talk... and that hasn't been happening at any of these markets. On the bright side, one of the markets has a really popular set of tennis courts that are packed on the weekends, and we always have fun joining the spectators and seeing the games.

Here are a couple of pictures of us watching tennis at one of the urban markets from the fall of 2010. My little boy looks like a baby! Oh my.

This just in.... Starlight Gardens has started a CSA for 2012. And this is one farm we've been really into at the markets .... Okay-- back to the drawing board!